Effective Strongman Training Routine An in-depth look at how to design a custom Strongman Training routine to achieve your goals.
The sport of strongman competition has grown tremendously in the last few years. This growth in popularity has sparked increased interest in the training techniques and routines of strongman competitors. The purpose of this article is to introduce the reader to strongman training with respect to the basics of building a routine. It will assume the reader is somewhat familiar with strength training in general and the specific exercises mentioned. Future articles will cover the �how to� of performing strongman specific movements (such a tire flipping and stones) and other nuances of the sport.
A simple Google search on strongman will provide a tremendous amount of training information. Making sense of all of that information and using it to put together an effective routine can be tricky business. Many individuals, excited by the prospect of newfound training techniques and exercises will create routines that quickly lead to overtraining due to excessive volume and loads. The following information will help you to avoid that pratfall.
Let�s start with a few basic guidelines:
Use your heaviest working sets in the gym to focus on the lifts that will have the highest carryover: power cleans, deadlifts, front squats, push jerks etc.
Begin with a low volume, low intensity warm-up and then work your way to a max effort (ME) set in one of the above key exercises. After that, focus on supersets and a mix of compound and isolation movements to improve your conditioning and muscular endurance.
Only squat or deadlift once per week.
**If you are a powerlifter and looking to compete in both sports then you can do one ME and one dynamic effort (DE) day each week. For example, perform your ME work on Wednesday and DE work on Friday with events on Sunday.
Low intensity cardio is the only kind of cardio that you should be doing when using traditional equipment (stair-stepper, stationary bike etc.). Higher intensity work should be reserved for plyometrics and sled dragging since they will have a more direct carryover and should not compromise, but rather can enhance your resistance training via the concepts of active recovery and improved muscular conditioning.
Limit yourself to 3 days per week of resistance training with barbells or machines, 2-3 days cardio, and 1 events day. If you are just starting out, you should alternate your events days with both ÒheavyÓ and Òspeed/techniqueÓ focused workouts. Brute strength is important for strongman, but technique plays a nearly equal factor.
If you are not feeling prepared for a good training session on any given day, cut out your heavy compound exercises and take it easy. Strongman training is very taxing on the central nervous system (CNS) and a recovery day can be much more productive than a heavy day when applied at the appropriate times.
Now, let�s take the above information and create some specific routines. Keep in mind that variety is important and even small things like a change in the range of motion, speed of movement, or rep ranges can provide the conjugate variety needed to avoid overtraining of the CNS.
Example Routine A (someone looking to get the most out of events day)
Sunday: events training (4 events, usually including a deadlift variation)
*Pick either Friday or Saturday to do some type of cardio / active recovery depending on how taxing the squat workout was. This can include sled drags, walking, low intensity sports, or swimming.
Example Routine D (bodybuilding / strongman)
Monday: chest / back – incline press, chins, machines or dumbbell supersets through rest of workout
Wednesday: legs – deadlift or squat, machine supersets and drop sets to finish
Thursday: arms – biceps, triceps, delts (hammer curl, close grip, strict pressing then supersets using mostly free weights followed by machines to fatigue)
Friday: cardio – low intensity, active recovery
Saturday: events – this is where you will do all heavy training. Gym lifts should not be ME, but rather a 5×5 or 3×3 on your core movement followed by bodybuilding training
One of the above programs should suit your individual goals. Choose one and give it your all! Train hard, train smart and you will soon reach your strongman goals and perhaps one day even join the ranks of professional strongman.